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arrested, they went away quickly but are back with a vengeance. some of my french colleagues are reporting that it's been known he will not run for president. no matter why this is, if it in any way comes back into french politics it will be a very interesting story. indeed, we make decisions somewhat difficult for the next few weeks. >> we will keep our eye on that as well as the legal developments. thierry arnaud, thank you very much. "in the arena" starts right now. good evening. welcome to the program. i'm eliot spitzer. tonight's top story, the case which has transfixed many in this country came to a shocking conclusion today even if you were not paying close attention to the casey anthony murder trial. you may well have formed the opinion that many people held -- she did it. casey anthony killed her 2-year-old daughter, caylee.
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there's just one problem -- the jury did not see it that way. >> as to the charge of first-degree murder, verdict as to count one, we, the jury, find the defendant not guilty. as to the charge of aggravated child abuse, verdict as to count two, we, the jury, find the defendant not guilty. as to the charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child, verdict as to count three, we, the jury, find the defendant not guilty. >> so not guilty on all the murder charges. guilty only on four misdemeanors. we've just gotten this video in of defense attorneys celebrating their victory at a bar near the courthouse. but let's be blunt. many people who saw that verdict did not celebrate. many are asking what was the jury thinking? we've just heard from one of the alternate jurors, russell hutler, did not take part in deliberations. he said he would have reached exactly the same conclusion the jury did. >> the prosecution did not prove
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their case. the big question that was, you know, not answered, you know, how did, you know, caylee die. i think there was probably a lot of discussion that it was probably a horrific accident that dad and casey covered up and unfortunately did so and it got away from them. it was such a horrific accident, they didn't know how to deal with it. the family appeared to be very dysfunctional, and instead of admitting, you know, there was an accident, they chose to hide it for whatever reason. >> the casey trial brought out the worst in many people. there were ugly scenes during the course of the trial as people actually got into shoving matches in their powerful desire to get a seat to watch the show. and that's what it was to many people -- a show, a reality show on steroids. did the media play a role in that? casey anthony's defense attorneys think so. >> i hope that this is a lesson to those of you that have
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indulged in media assassination for three years, bias and prejudice and incompetent talking heads saying what would be and how to be. i'm disgusted by some of the lawyers that have done this. and i can tell you that my colleagues from coast to coast and border to border have condemned this whole process of lawyers getting on television and talking about cases that they don't know a damn thing about and don't have the experience to back up their words or the law to do it. now you've learned a lesson. >> tough words for the media. are we, the media, partially to blame? and exactly how did the defense pull off this upset? we have an all-star legal team here tonight to answer those questions. but first here are the other stories i'll be drilling down on tonight. in a town where everybody hates everybody, the last man everyone loves. can allan simpson bring both sides of the budget ball t together before it's too late?
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and mothers as murderers. is it something that a jury just can't comp rehelped? can anyone? dr. gail saltz on why matricide is hard to accept and even harder to prove. then -- the camera loves crime. does the nonstop coverage of the casey anthony trial make the media the 13th juror? 12 jurors inside the courtroom obviously saw things much differently than did the millions of americans who watched it on tv. martin savidge was inside that courtroom throughout the trial and today when the verdict was read. he joins us now from orlando, florida. martin, first of all, what explains in your mind the chasm between the generalized sense of the public watching this on that she of course was guilty and the quick ten hours of deliberations leading to a not guilty verdict on the three most significant
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counts? >> reporter: you know, eliot, i wish i had an absolute answer on this. many of us are still wondering and trying to decipher from the limited conversation you had with the alternate juror as to what was really going on, where was the disconnect between what the public thought they knew and heard about this case and what the jury heard and how they ruled. one thing to keep in mind, of course, as you would know is the fact the jury was not bombarded with all of this for years as far as the last couple of weeks. they have not been inundated with the immediate attention. they haven't heard all the lawyers on tv, haven't heard all the speculation, haven't heard all the minutia that's been talked about on and on and on. instead they heard in a nonemotional way played out by the prosecution and the defense two alternate versions of what happened. it appears they bought the defense's side of things. very amazing to watch the difference between these going into that courtroom and those coming as the verdict was read. as they went in, jeff ashton, head of the pros kushgs saw him, very pumped up, very excited. clearly he thought short deliberation, it was going to go his way.
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the defense team, when you're inside the courtroom, you looked at them, very subdued, very silent, had very slight conversation with casey and it was clear they were trying to console her. that young woman was terrified. then the verdict is read and a complete about-face. prosecution is devastated. most of the court don't even say a word. and there you see a defense team that breaks down sobbing with raw emotion. not elation. sobbing, which was a clear indication that they probably did not expect it to go their way, but, in fact, it did. elliott? >> martin, one follow-up here. i was watching this in a newsroom setting and i can tell you there were gasps. people were shocked, amazed, falling off their chairs, couldn't quite comprehend what was going on. in the courtroom itself, put aside the prosecution and defense teams. were people as astonished at the outcome as everybody else seems to have been? >> reporter: yes. i mean, from a couple of factors. you've got mainly media in there and then you had the public, the
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gallery, as well, then a lot of law enforcement, people who had previously testified in this case. tremendous interest. every seat is filled. everybody is silent. then the verdict. you could feel this instant inhaling of all the air in the room being brought in by every lung as they were shocked to hear this turn of events. not necessarily to say they were judgmental. they just did not expect it to be ruled that way. the anthonys immediately below me, george and cindy, they bolted out of that room. they were not going to stay. but they released a statement later to say they were relieved by the way things had turned out and they asked to be left alone. this was really a moment where not a summation but a courtroom felt this at the exact same time. >> martin, thank you for that. in the courtroom analysis, what was going on. how did the jury come to a not guilty verdict? and should it have been such a surprise? we have assembled our own legal team to talk about the trial. rikki klieman, top-flight former
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prosecutor and tv host. jeffrey toobin, cnn legal analyst in from los angeles. tom mesereau, defense attorney best known for representing michael jackson. welcome. let me tell you folks watching if you ever need a lawyer, call one of these three. they are the best. >> not me. >> all right. >> i'd love to try a case with tom, though, i have to say. >> rikki, let me start with you. were you surprised? if not, what did the prosecution do wrong and why didn't it answer the questions? >> i was not surprised at the verdict when it was only 11 hours over this very short period of time after a long trial, because there was not enough time, if it was going to be a guilty verdict, for them to go through all the degrees of homicide. so in this short a period of time, i consider 11 hours short, that it had to be a not guilty verdict. so the verdict did not surprise me. what the public doesn't understand and what tom mesereau is going to echo without a doubt
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in my mind is this -- it's called the burden of proof. it is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. you may think she's guilty. you may believe she's guilty. you may think she is probably the most guilty person on earth. but if you can't prove her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, you lose. here we didn't know where she died, where caylee died, how she died, when she died. the jury believed the case was not proven. it does not mean she's innocent. it just wasn't proven. >> you make a powerful case. they did a circumstantial case, which this was. nobody saw what happened. nobody could give you a precise articulation of what happened. tom, you have your chance to echo what rikki said or build on it. what would you have done differently? you're the defense attorney par excellence. as the prosecutor, what would you have done differently to try to answer those questions? >> first of all, i want to commend the defense team. the lawyers did a great job. their team did a great job. they were vilified by these immature legal pundits throughout the trial. i thought and my law firm
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partner thought mr. baez and mr. mason were doing an outstanding job. they were prepared, comfortable, passionate, they really went for it and deserve all the credit in the world. second of all, i think -- in my experience, the more intelligent the prosecutor, which means the higher their iq and intelligence, the lower their eq and emotions. prosecutors tend to be deficient when it comes to understanding the emotions of the courtroom. i saw these tortured, pained, you know, just terribly tragic parents being dragged back and forth to the witness stand by the prosecutors, and the defense lawyers did the same thing. i remember saying to susan you, i said this jury is not going to want to torture these parents any more if they don't have to. i think the prosecutors maeds a terrible mistake the way they handled these parents. i they they neglected the fact that jurors might feel sorry for them on some level, conscious or unconscious. emotionally the defense grabbed the courtroom. they convinced these jurors they should look for reasons to acquit, and that's exactly what happened.
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>> jeff, i'm going to get to you in one second. you're my cnn colleague. i cut you off for ten seconds. rikki, i want to ask you this question. you referred at the top to the burden of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt. of course words we all can recru recruit. none of us knows quite what it mean, i think we can admit. how would you as a prosecutor have tried the case differently, knowing you couldn't put anybody at the crime scene, couldn't quite answer how caylee died? how would you have tried it differently to overcome that burden of proof? >> the problem the prosecution had is the facts it was dealt. no one could overcome the fact that no one knew how this child died, when this child died, or where. the problem i say if i had been the prosecutor is i would have never made this a death case. those stakes were too high. you had seven women on this jury, and they're looking at a young mother. and they have to think that the if they convict her of the top count, then they have to think about life or death. i think it might have been a different case if she were simply charged with aggravated
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manslaughter. >> fascinating. jeff, you've been making that point all day. the error you think was making it a death penalty case. >> rikki is my former law professor. i completely agree with her. you were a child as a professor. but this was overcharged. >> yes. >> prosecutors don't -- they didn't have the evidence to get a jury to say this is a potential execution case. this case was hard enough to get a lesser verdict, a manslaughter verdict. but an intentional murder verdict on this evidence with this much mystery about how caylee died weather this much mystery about why this woman who was in the eyes of many witnesses a good mother, why she would torture and then murder her daughter intentionally? it doesn't -- there was no evidence to support that. >> here's the thing. this comes back to your point, rikki, and tom, weigh in on this. there doesn't seem to have been, given the duration of the deliberations, much time for the
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jury to consider lesser offenses, the second and third counts, which would not have been death penalty cases. why did they not spend more time on those? does it come back to your point, perhaps, the jury lost emotional contact with the prosecution and that was the critical point where the prosecutors just kind of lost the jury along the way somewhere? >> well, very often jurors are elated when they don't have to convict, particularly in serious cases like this. i think they were skweszerred. they were uncomfortable. they were very atennive to what happened. they were under oath, unlike so many other pundits and critics. they looked at all this evidence and looked at these witnesses and listened to them six to eight hours a day. they probably went into the jury room and nobody wanted to convict. that's probably what happened. so they talked to each other about what they really felt had happened in the courtroom, and they discovered very quickly none of us want to convict if we don't have to the. so they convicted her on the misdemeanor. she clearly lied to the police. they decided to go not guilty on the rest, and they probably are
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relieved they did that. >> if there is an alternate theory, you can dismiss it out of hand, but it was articulated by the alternate juror. they got caught up in this horrific accident, she lied about that and this explains the lies. >> we're all in this. you have to remember that was the defense theory of the case. >> right. >> one thing i will say, good or bad performance, things that jose baez did that made people upset when they were commenting on it that made others think he shouldn't be trying the case, we can put all that aside. jose baez's closing argument gave them the reason. and basically what he was saying was you cannot believe george anthony and that they didn't believe george anthony. >> right. >> and what he said, basically, was, you know, let's look. it's a terrible accident that spun out of control. and when they had that theory, that made sense to the jurors. >> okay. so is it to the point or is it the case, jeff, as a former
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prosecutor, that if any one piece of the prosecution case is not credible, the entire prosecution case crumbles and then you cannot satisfy the burden of proof? >> not necessarily. i mean, in a long trial there are going to be good days and bad days for each side. i do think the prosecution, in addition to overcharging the case, made some mistakes in overtrying the case, for example, putting on evidence that the trunk smelled like death. what ridiculous -- >> which the alternate juror did not accept. >> right. >> let's talk about that. >> i hesitate to call it junk science, but it was awfully close to junk science. you can't prove that a trunk smells like death. and i think when you put on evidence like that you say -- the jurors say to themselves, like, this is the best you got? >> and i guess they didn't have the core. because they couldn't have the core. because the only person who may know what happened to this child may be casey anthony, and it may be, i guess, if you have a second person, it may be her father. but they weren't telling. >> tom, let me come back to a bizarre counterpoint, perhaps.
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in the o.j. simpson case you may remember he made a big flourish of saying i'm going to find the guy who did this to reinforce the notion he was supposedly innocent. here there wasn't any sort of barricade created. there was no alternate theory that was presented to the general public. it was just kind of nibbling away at the prosecution case. so it's not terribly emotionally satisfying. i mean, tom, but they won. how did they do that? >> first of all, i think this defense team focused on the courtroom, not the media. you know, the media likes to think they're going to influence these verdicts. look at the history. blake's acquitted, simpson, jackson, casey anthony is acquitted. i mean, the media has power and they have influence but not to the extent that they're going to tell our jury what is to do. juries are sworn in. they're there every day. they see every bit of testimony. they have to deliberate. and it's an entirely different process. i think this defense team focused on the courtroom and not the media. by comparison, in the scott
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peterson case, they couldn't prove time of death, cause of death, manner of death, but i don't think the defense was focused. the defense lawyer did not have a lot of experience in capital cases, and he didn't bring an expert like cheaney mason in to sit there with him while the case was tried. this was won for many reasons, including a defense team focused on where you win the case. >> jurors are ordinary people. tom mesereau tried the michael jackson case. i have never seen a case better defended than the job he did with michael jackson. part of the reason was he had a story that jackson was the victim of money-grubbing so-called victims. now, whether that's true or not is a separate story, but it was a way of understanding the case. as we heard from this alternate juror, there was a way of understanding these facts that was very different from the one the prosecution presented. and that's how you win a case, by giving the jury a way of understanding the facts that is different from what the -- >> i think there's a reality. unanswered questions are held
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against the prosecution, which properly as the burden of proof. too many holes, too much swiss cheese, even if lockally you can get to a conviction, a prosecution won't win. thanks for being with us. i hope some of you can hang around for a little bit and we can come back to you later in the show. all right. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. all right. next, another aspect of the story. all murder trials are not created equal. some become media sensations. some do not. why was casey anthony a lightning rod? ♪ ♪ ♪ look at that car, well, it goes fast ♪ ♪ givin' my dad a heart attack ♪ [ friend ] that is so awesome. ♪ i love my car [ engine revving ] [ male announcer ] that first chevy, yea, it gets under your skin. ♪ in servicing clients that serve our country. my name is marjorie reyes. i'm a chief warrant officer.
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it just came to us. what? bundling and saving made easy. now, that's progressive. call or click today. following the verdict, one of casey anthony's defense attorneys gave a blistering criticism of the media coverage of her trial. take a listen. >> i hope that this is a lesson
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to those of you having indulged in media asaz nation for three years, bias and prejudice and incompetent talking heads saying what would be and how to be. i'm disgusted by some of the lawyers who have done this, and i can tell you that my colleagues from coast to coast and border to border have condemned this whole process of lawyers getting on television and talking about cases that they don't know a damn thing about. >> joining me from washington, d.c., to talk about how the media covers high-profile cases is howard kurtz, the host of cnn's "reliable sources," and here in the studio again the jeff toobin, cnn senior legal analyst. howard, let me start with you. that was about as blistering a critique of the media as i can imagine. was he right? >> he was half right in the sense that, look, there obviously have been legal bow wows who have gone on tv convicting casey anthony, maybe
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don't know what they're talking about. by and large the talking heads have not been incompetent. they have been detailing the avalanche of evidence against casey anthony but forgetting as we do in this business sometimes there's a difference between somebody appearing to be guilty, the evidence pointing them to be guilty, and the prosecution going into a courtroom and proving they're guilty, particularly in a murder case. >> howard, that is a hugely important distinction. jeff, i want to turn to you as, you know, the sophisticated lawyer in this. there is a presumption of innocence that attaches to anybody in a criminal case in the united states in the courtroom. but it doesn't really attach outside the courtroom so were these so-called talking heads wrong to say, you know what, she's guilty? is that a violation of her rights if they believe it, and is that somehow a violation of our sense of justice? >> i think cable news is evolving towards a more opinionated model, whether it's fox and nbc on politics, you know, where you know where they're coming from. nancy grace, the leader of the casey anthony coverage, was also
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very opinion nated in her coverage. but it is worth remembering for all that there was a lot of hostile coverage, what happened? she was acquitted. o.j. simpson, acquitted. michael jackson, acquitted. william kennedy smith, acquitted. all of these high-profile cases where the defense attorney says there's no way my client is get a fair trial, they all got acquitted. so all the of the attention doesn't necessarily mean that the juries are automatically going to follow suit. >> right. but howard, let me come back to you. that's because people in the real world and media commentators, lawyers who are fully aware of legal thresholds and legal standards, in the real world people don't live their lives by a standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. you make commonsense judgments and howard, let me ask you, is it wrong for people to say, hey, you know what, i've seen all the evidence. i don't know what reasonable doubt is. i don't know what beyond a reasonable doubt is. but i'm telling you if i had to make a sane judgment, i think so and so is guilty of the crimes charged. >> everybody in america is
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entitled to an opinion on this or any other case. every lawyer, particularly those who go in front of ooh a television camera, is entitled to pop off. it's called free speech. this opinionated cable model jeff refers to, we're already there. everybody want s to be judge judy. >> not me, but go ahead. >> compare casey anthony to the those cases, michael jackson, o.j. simpson. they were already famous. casey anthony was not. unfortunately, many children are killed each year in this country. it's television news and thirst for ratings and sensation and hunger for soap opera that takes relatively unknown people -- the lacy peterson case, natalee holloway, and now casey anthony -- and turns it into the spectacle that i feel is kind of merchandising tragedy. >> let me ask both of you. jeff, let me start with you. do you think the coverage affected the outcome? did the jurors aware that there was a camera in the courtroom, even though they were sequestered, did the jurors'
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behavior somehow get affected through some feedback loop by the nature of the coverage even though supposedly they were not witness to it or didn't hear it? >> i think not. i don't know for sure because i haven't spoke on the jurors. but most of the coverage has been very hostile to casey anthony, and they wound up acquitting her. i think where the influence may have been is in the prosecution's decision to make this a death penalty case, which always seemed like a wrong decision to me, given the strength of the evidence, given the absence of a cause of death, a time of death, to make this a death penalty case sounded to me like the prosecutors had been spending too much time listening to people on cable news being outraged about the case rather than evaluating the evidence in the cold light of reality. and i think that wruz where the media influence was more than how the jurors behaved. >> howard, back to you. do you think the jury was affected by the nature of this tv coverage? >> i have to say probably not, because they came back so quickly with the not guilty
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verdict despite you have to say the overwhelming tone of the coverage has been that casey anthony must be guilty, not sympathetic to her, and, you know, most people in america will probably still believe that, you know, who killed this poor 2-year-old child if it wasn't her mother? there's no other sort of plausible theory of it. but this is great for television, which has sort of feasted off this case for three years now, because now everybody will argue about this, did she really get off, why did she get off, for a long time and it will extend the life of this story. >> howard, i'm going to do something you may think is unfair. you watched a lot of the coverage of the trial. you watched probably some of it live. i presume that's the case? >> yes. >> do you think she's guilty? >> i would have to say without putting myself in the role of a juror, sifting through the evidence, i didn't do that, i was doing other things and i have a life, i would say the overwhelming evidence is she is probably guilty. there's a difference between me as a, you know, somebody sitting on the outside saying i think she's probably guilty and the responsibility, especially in a death penalty case, that a juror
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has to say that did the prosecution case feel this case beyond a reasonable doubt where i feel comfortable voting guilty and this woman may go to the death chamber. >> both pieces of your answer are correct. i'm interested in your commonsense judgment and how you evaluate sitting in the jury box, totally different. jeff, i want to ask you. you're the prosecutor, the hard and sophisticated lawyer. your view. you watched the case, parts of it. was she guilty? >> of intentional murder? i don't think they made that case nearly. you know, could i come up with a scenario where she killed her daughter perhaps accidently, perhaps she was involved in covering it up afterwards, sure. but if i were a juror, asked whether this was an intentional murder case, i certainly would have done the same thing the jury did. >> howard kurtz, jeff toobin, thanks for being here. >> thank you. >> we'll be back with more on the casey anthony story. it's not the first time the mother was accused of killing her child, but this case became
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an american obsession. dr. gail saltz on the horror and fascination of the story. stay with us.
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back to our coverage of
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today's shocking casey anthony verdict. anthony's acquittal on charges she killed her 2-year-old daughter caylee hasn't ended the underlying question that riveted america to the case -- namely, how could it even be conceive that believe a mother could kill her 2-year-old child? for answer wes turn to our resident psi sky tryst. welcome back to the show. >> thank you. >> why our obsessive desire to watch this case day after day? >> we are voirists at heart and watching a train wreck is unfortunately very appealing to us. so the combination of matricide, the idea that a wol could kill her child, then you had sexual abuse, you know, then you had infidelity, you kind of had every horrific thing that could possibly happen within a family all being touted at once. i think that was our fascination. i think at the same time, because we were identified with the various players in this, we are very upset about this virk not only because we think it was maybe the wrong verdict but
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because we didn't get closure. >> we'll come back to closure in a second. you said something. this is really a reality show, but we all think reality shows are staged and there's something false about them. >> right. >> this one was absolutely real and it was a game show at the same time. we got to predict or figure out were they going to prove case. >> it was a whodunit that was more enjoyable because we thought we knew. the idea that a woman can kill her child is exceptionally rif etding to us. one, of course, it's horrifying. our mother is supposed to be the one who would lay down her life for us, nurture us, sustain us, make us grow up. and the idea you could take that life is completely horrific. i think that was a big piece of it. and i think it's additionally our ambivalence about being mothers, which is normal, that all women have some feelings of, you know, i wish i could go to a bar, i wish i didn't have to deal with this. so seeing those pictures of her return to her partying state
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stirred in us those ambivalent feelings we have as mothers that of course we're not going to act on but reminded us that we had those feelings. >> is that perhaps why it was so hard to get a conviction? that first notion you raised, which is mothers are so different, they nurture, they take care, they protect. >> yes. >> since there was no clear motive given, the notion that anybody, no matter how dark her character was at the end of -- the portrayal in this trial, somehow the jury couldn't get its arms around the fact she might have done this. >> i think the wish for there to be disbelief that a mother could be capable of that is there. and so if any window is opened, a juror may potentially take it. i think in addition, when you bring a person -- when you are a juror, your headset is so different from the public that is out there able to make the armchair predictions. i think the juror that's tasked with the idea that this person in front of you, you may put to death, that is -- makes you
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identify with the person you're going to convict. and that makes the task so much more weighty and a wish to find your way out. because no one wants to feel responsible for putting someone to death if they can say there's any doubt at all. >> error one that i hear many people agreeing upon is making this a capital case. it sounds to me as though you, if you had given counsel to the prosecution, would have said you cannot get a conviction in this case unless you overcome that presumption of sainthood that we imbue mothers with. and you have to take that apart piece by piece. without a motive, you may not be able to do it. >> to some degree there needs to be such a clear-cut motive and maybe even a reference -- look, the mothers who have been convicted have generally been found to be insane, have found to be -- the andrea yates, the idea that you could only do this if you're crazy, really crazy. >> right. >> but there have been cases of mothers who have done it who are not psychiatrically ill. they're just so few and far between, people don't want to
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believe you're capable of killing your child unless you're psychiatrically ill. >> you're in the world of psychiatry where you try to rationalize, figure out, understand the human brain. does that make it harder for you to find guilt and to ascribe guilt? >> no. i think that, you know, people, first of all, sociopathy is real. there are people who do out of narcissism and a lack of empathy and truly missing a super ego, missing their moral compass, really could commit a completely heinous crime. no, i think it can be there. what i do know about the human mind is one can so circumscribe, so be in denial and compartmentalize and do heinous things and lie to themselves that i didn't do this, justify it to themselves. we see this all the time. >> dr. gail saltz, thanks for your insights. the key to casey being found not guilty may lie in the prosecution's inability to prove exactly how her daughter died. we'll hear from our crack legal team when we return. ♪
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that i didn't do this, justify >> let's bring back our all-star legal team. rikki klieman, criminal defense attorney and top-flight former
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prosecutor, cnn legal analyst jeff toobin, and from los angeles, tom mesereau, who successfully defended michael jackson. welcome to all three of you. let me begin with you, rikki. is it fair to say maybe you can get a conviction in a murder case without a body as some prosecutor have done, but not without a clear motive? >> i don't think that's quite it. i don't think you need to prove motive. i mean, we know legally you don't need to prove motive. the prosecution certainly argued motive. they argued their version of motive. and the defense argued their version of accident. i think that the prosecution's version of motive was very acceptable to a jury. it just didn't happen to coordinate with the fact that so many other facts were missing or that facts were ambiguous. they couldn't pin the tail on the donkey. >> tom mesereau, what's your take on this? was there enough ambiguity about mote soif even if there was no real viable alternative somehow
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that was a downfall of the case? >> well, remember in the scott peterson death penalty case the theory of motive was that this guy didn't want parental responsibilities, wanted to go out and womanize and party. they couldn't prove time of death, cause of death, place of death. they convicted him and gave him the death penalty. so it certainly can be done. i think in this case in an odd way both the prosecution and the defense were able to humanize the defendant in a way which made her more capable of being acquitted. i mean, i think the motive that she wanted to party and she wanted to get a tattoo sort of looked silly. in the scott peterson case, it looked very nefarious. in this particular case, she looked silly, she looked immature. the defense were able to show she came from a very dysfunctional, conflicted family where people tell all kinds of stories all the time. and i think in a way she became, you know, at least in an unconscious way much more capable of being acquitted in the jury's eyes than, say, scott peterson was, who the defense
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could not humanize and, in my opinion, did not defend very well. >> jeff, all the flaws that the prosecution thought would coalesce into an argument for motive and hence guilt in a way made people feel sorry and say she's a flawed character but not murder. >> well, maybe. what we're talking about now is if this verdict were a foregone conclusion. there was some really bad evidence against this woman. i mean, what mother waits 30 days to report a 2-year-old missing? i mean, most parents freak out if a 2-year-old leaves their sight. a month? i mean, that is a horrendous, horrendous fact that, i mean, under certain circumstances you get a conviction on that alone. so yes, there were some -- you can see why the jury reached its result, but you can also see why the prosecution brought this case. >> absolutely. absolutely. in the 31 days alone for certain jurors maybe other jurors might have been enough. but if you look at what this
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jury did, i'm not saying another 12 people would have necessarily come to the same conclusion. but what this jury did certainly was supported by what they had in front of them. and i don't want to denigrate in any way this jury's verdict because that alternate juror, there's not one question that i've seen tossed at him that he has not been able to answer. he's answered each one articulately with thought, with deliberation. he would have been a great juror. he agrees with what the jury did. >> look, i have enormous confidence what juries do. they are attentive, do their best, try very hard no matter how often they're denigrated. tom, i want to switch the topic a little bit. the role of cameras in the courtroom. we get obsessed by it. networks have been created around it. tom, do you think it's a good idea or a bad idea? does it serve justice rather than the public's prurient interests in seeing stories like this play out? >> as a defense lawyer, i can tell you it depends on the case. in the robert blake case, we had a three-week televised
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preliminary hearing and i wanted cameras because i thought it would help our case. in the michael jackson trial, i was against cameras because i thought it would hurt our position. from my point of view, it depends on, you know, the situation which involves a lot of different factors. generally speaking, i think the public is better served with cameras because these are supposed to be public trials. they're really not because courtrooms are too small. i see nothing wrong with the public looking into a courtroom and seeing what goes on. >> rikki, let me come to you. does the fact that cameras are in the courtroom or in some courtrooms educate the public, make us a better -- appreciate what this illusory notion of reasonable doubt really means, how to piece evidence together into that jigsaw puzzle that sometimes gets a conviction, sometimes not? >> well, i certainly hope so, considering all of the years that i spent at court tv, that i believe in transparency. but i do have to add this. what happened in this case, which is why the vast majority of the public is not only upset and thinks that the verdict was
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wrong, but they are truly emotionally angry. and what it is this. the jurors took an oath. they took an oath to try the case on the facts and to be dispassionate. the lawyers take an oath. we try to have rules in a courtroom. one of the rules is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. the public is emotionally connected because of the camera in this courtroom. they are not dispassionate, which is why they would not be the right jurors in this case. >> rikki, a fascinating point. you're giving the jury credit, and i hope it's correct, for being dispassionate and not emotional, as they are charged over and over again by the judge, every jury is. fascinating stuff. thanks for being with us. another big story tonight. the deadline is looming on this up next. the man famous for crossing the aisle in washington is here with his thoughts on how to get a solution to this ticking time bomb. ♪ my only sunshine
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these days it seems like everybody in washington hates everybody else. i can think of only one man who stands apart from the circle of nastiness, one man who everybody likes. i'm talking about former senator allan simpson. he's one half of the team that president obama appointed to solve the deficit mess. the bouls simpson commission. i'll be talking to him in a moment. but first ongoing drama he's tried to fix, the looming threat of the debt ceiling. if we don't raise it in three weeks' time, the economy could crash back into recession or worse. listen to what president obama said today. >> it's my hope that everybody's going to leave their ultimatums at the door, that we'll all leave our political rhetoric at the door, and that we're going to do what's best for our economy and do what's best for our people. >> house speaker john boehner fired back with this.
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it's time to turn to the voice of sanity. by that, i mean senator allan simpson. welcome back to the program. >> well, if you read my e-mail, you wouldn't think everybody loved me, i can tell you that. some classics there. i wouldn't want to share them with the general readers. >> that may be, but we love you. and anybody who listens to you loves you. so let me go at it this way. you are the master -- you're the master at reading washington tea leaves. behind the rhetoric, the back and forth that we just saw with president obama and speaker boehner, is there any progress being made? how do you crystallize this? what do you think? >> i think it's what we call out here in the west a chicken dance. you get out there and you fly all over the joint and puff out your chest and blow hard and see if you can attract one of the
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chickens on the other side. i don't know who they're trying to attract here. but this is just part of the ritual as i see, because joe bide season still in the room. you got to pray for joe biden. joe biden is in that room. got six, maybe five. whatever it is. if those guys come out with something, take it to the congress, something's going to happen. if joe can't come out of there and they do this absurd situation, absolutely stupefying when they say to get rid of a tax expenditure, which is nothing more than a tax earmark, which is nothing more than spending by another name, which is much like the ethanol they shot over the ridge the other day, 6 billion, if they say that getting rid of one of those is a tax increase, that is absolutely stupefying. that's no-brainer. >> well, look, let me sort of try to translate a little bit so everybody understands. one of the big controversies has been that the president and his
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colleagues and the democratic party are saying close a lot of tax loopholes, and what you're saying is a lot of folks in the republican party are saying, closing loopholes is the same thing as increasing taxes. you seem to be siding with the president on this, and no surprise because your report said close all these loopholes and that's the way to nirvana and closing this deficit. >> that's right. that's what i'm saying. 34 republicans voted the other day to get rid of the tax loophole for ethanol. i call that getting in the game. >> you lead me right into a quotation of yours. it says -- and this is you -- if there's anybody in america who wants to solve this son of a t bitch, show me your favorite sacred cow and shoot it. give me some cows that have to be shot. >> well, they have to be mine. i'm here in cowboy country. this state, wyoming, my state, any native state, is the largest producer of coal in the world. if it were a nation, it would be
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the largest coal producer. we're in oil and tight gas and oil shale beyond that, and -- and a nonfossil fuel. this is nuts. if we're going to get -- there are 180 of these babies. if they say get rid of them, we'll give the people what they've been shrieking for. broaden the base of the taxes, lower the rates, take spending out of the tax code. that's what they've been shrieking for. that's what our report does. i always say to people, when everything else fails, read the damn report. here we are right now in this ghastly situation pushing, pushing, pushing, both sides battling into the vapors. i tell you, the people of america are sick and tired of it. >> i'll say two things. >> didn't answer your request -- >> no, that answers it head on. it sure did. you point out your own cows ready to be shot, and i admire you for that. alan simpson for president, and two, i think your report was right on the money. it is the framework we need. i think that's the honesty people want to hear these days.
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>> it's out there. it is the framework. and you know very well that the republicans are looking at it, that fine group of six, and the dems and the republicans and joe. they're all looking at it. there's nowhere else to go. if you hear another guy get up and say we can get this done without touching medicare, medicaid, defense or the solvency of social security, stick your finger down your throat and head out the door. >> all right. i'm not going to do that on live tv but you're exactly right. back to another point. there was a republican study group that came out with a proposal that was 85% cuts in spending, 15% revenue increases through loophole closings. that was a republican study group. the president's plan and your proposal are really in that framework. now, why is it, then -- explain the politics of it. as soon as the president proposes it, you guys proposed it, the leaders in the republican party on the hill seem to be running away from it. i don't quite know why they done
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know how to declare victory and say yes. >> well, take a look at david brooks' column today in "the new york times." that is one of the most brilliant columns called a no-brain no-brainer. >> you preferred to david brooks' column in today's "new york times." david brooks by all accounts a conservative. i'm with you. a spectacular column. i want to quote the last passage to you. i happen to have it right here in front of me. how about that? it says if responsible republicans don't take control, independents will conclude that republican fanaticism caused this default. they will conclude that republicans are not fit to govern and they will be right. do you agree with david brooks and that conclusion? >> oh, i do. i was with him here recently at the aspen festival. bright guy, thoughtful person. but, you know, really, i know these wonderful republican colleagues and democratic colleagues. houn how could they ever get to a point where some guy is pulling out a sheet of paper that they
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signed when everything was roses in america and now we're headed for the bow wows and he's standing throughout shrill on the edge of the hill saying you're going to be cremated ? the worst thing that will happen to you of course is you will not be re-elected. by god, if that's the talisman of your whole life, should have quit long ago. >> as always, alan simpson, truth teller and everybody does love you and should read your report. i'm supporting you for president. thanks for joining us. >> king. if i could be king. >> we'll give you that, too. he is a national treasure, indeed. alan simpson. up ahead, the next development in the casey anthony trial. at bayer, we've been relieving pain for over 100 years.
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this morning casey anthony woke up facing the possibility of the death penalty. tonight, she goes to sleep hoping she'll be out of jail for voon. david mattingly has been following this case and joins us from outside the courthouse. david, the judge set thursday for sentencing. what is likely to happen? >> reporter: well, the last thing we saw in court today was casey anthony getting fingerprinted as part of a normal procedure because she was found guilty of those four misdemeanor charges of lying to investigators. each of those counts carries a maximum one-year penalty and a $1,000 fine. we're going to wait to see what the judge does here because she's already served three years in jail waiting for this trial to be completed. so it's possible she could get time served and walk out free on
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thursday after that sentencing, or she could be facing a little more jail time. it's going to be all up to the judge here. >> you know, david, i hate to play technical lawyer, but for the judge to keep her in, he would have to run those sentences consecutively. i don't know florida law sufficiently to know whether or not he can even do that. but normally when you have cases and counts that emerge out of one set of events those convictions would have the sentences run concurrently, so she may have already exhausted the time she can serve. has anybody down there at the courthouse answered the question whether, in fact, it could go up to four year, could they run concurrently? >> reporter: no. after the proceeding today, in fact, there was like this cone of silence descended upon the courthouse. there was no one associated with this trial talking except for the attorneys themselves, not speculating at all on what might happen on thursday. they were just so happy to see their client walking out of there,
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